At this point, does the reason even matter?
First, Javier Gonzales decided not to run for reelection as Santa Fe mayor because his daughter was about to enter the eighth grade and he'd recently broken up with his boyfriend.
"It started to dawn on me that there was an eighth-grader at home who is full-time in my custody now," Gonzales told SFR in September. Faced with the prospect of being a full-time single parent and a full-time mayor, he bowed out. The clarity came to him during a road trip taking his oldest daughter, Cameron, to college in California. He called the decision "bittersweet" and said he was done with elected office.
In December, Gonzales had a change of heart … or vision … or the political winds shifted. He decided to run for lieutenant governor.
The choice to run for statewide office was a struggle, he once more told SFR, using the same word he chose to describe his decision not to run for mayor. And even though he claimed at that time to have done everything he wanted in the political arena, the departure of state Sen. Michael Padilla from the race left an opening for a progressive agenda.
It's debatable whether the lieutenant governor's agenda has much effect. The candidate always takes a back seat to the party's gubernatorial nominee and the constitutional duties afforded the position are scant, other than running the Senate during legislative sessions.
As SFR put it in December, "… anyone who's seen a tired, impatient Javier Gonzales running City Council meetings into the late-night hours on a Wednesday would be well within their right to question how he'll handle 42 senators with a penchant for speechifying and a lusty passion for parliamentary procedure."
Nevertheless, Gonzales, a former state Democratic Party chairman and Santa Fe County commissioner, saw before him a political opening that has now apparently closed.
On his campaign website in a new post this afternoon, Gonzales implied that he'd reassessed the progressive cause: "What I can say now with confidence is that the progressive voice across the state is strong, and that many qualified candidates are bringing their passion and perspective to the lieutenant governor race. So with a clear conscience, I have decided to end my campaign and return to the private sector after my term as mayor expires."
Gonzales didn't endorse any of his opponents in the race he's leaving. He may change his mind. He told SFR in September that he didn't plan to endorse anyone for mayor, before throwing his support behind Alan Webber last week.
There are four remaining Democrats in the race for lieutenant governor: Jeff Carr, Billy Garrett, Rick Miera and Howie Morales.
The mayor didn't return a phone call asking for further details on his latest about-face.
To say it's unclear whether voters have seen the last of Javier Gonzales would be a bit of an understatement. In his farewell to the latest campaign, he wrote, "Service takes many forms, and I look forward to continuing my service to our state in whichever form that may come."